Search this site or the web        powered by FreeFind
  Site search Web search
Discernment. Online










'I take the view the opera is an over-rated art form which has grown at the expense of other art forms such as jazz. Opera combines the most sublime musical expression with the worst possible theatre'
Anything you'd like to share with The Music Magazine's readers? Just send us mail


An art that is overrated

Opera has grown at the expense of genres like jazz, says Robert Fawkes-Jenkins

Dear Sonya,

It's very refreshing to read your advice (Bombay Dreams, Opera Stylises) to readers on how they should start listening to opera. You say "...forget what the critics say and forget the libretto. Enjoy the sensual timbres, marvel at the vocal gymnastics, learn to hum the tuneful melodies and succumb to the warm tones of the orchestra."

I cannot remember any critic in the West ever having treated opera in such a cavalier fashion, and I really wish that more people would.

I take the view the opera is an over-rated art form which has grown at the expense of other art forms such as jazz. Opera combines the most sublime musical expression with the worst possible theatre. I couldn't agree with you more about opera plots being simplistic. In fact, sometimes they are plain stupid. Verdi's Falstaff is nothing short of an insult to one of Shakespeare's most delightful creations, and if only critics and opera buffs
did not take themselves so seriously, people might begin to appreciate opera and indeed other art forms for what they really are. My views on opera are far from politically correct.


Robert Fawkes-Jenkins

In praise of Vani Jairam

Dear Suchitra Lata

I found your brief encounter with Vani Jairam interesting. The fact that she refused to malign the Mangeshkars (whose monopoly in the Hindi film music scene is legendary), speaks volumes for Vani Jairam's discretion and diplomacy.

Vani Jairam is a singer par excellence in her own right. Her songs for Pt Ravi Shankar, Raghunath Seth, Ananda Shankar, Birju Maharaj, Kelucharan Mahapatra, Vasant Desai, M S Viswanathan, Ilaiyaraja, Vijayabhaskar, K V Mahadevan and Devarajan are superlative examples of artistry, voice-control and soul.

Vani Jairam has no need to sound like anybody else. Any real connoisseur of music would recognise her voice to be miraculous, moving and unique. The "numbers" game is merely an invention for and of the small-minded.

So please send U V W Krish (see letter: Vani Jairam lost here) to an English tutor. Also give him/her a few tips on "non-biased" reviewing. The letter in response to your interview with Vani Jairam is a classic example of bad syntax, faulty composition, and dubious comparison. It is a sad and lamentable defence of the Mangeshkars (Lata and Asha would be truly embarrassed). As such, the letter is neither illuminating nor thought-provoking.

Ameen Merchant

TMM on BBC World

Hello Sir

Yesterday I was watching BBC World... There was a programme in which many people opined that is the best among its contemporaries ... Congrats on that and keep it up.

Radhakrishna Hegde

Waiting for H20

Your review of the much awaited H2O is in detail. Just waiting for the film to release. Good job.

Wanted Marathi soundtracks
I am interested in original soundtracks of old Marathi films Honaji Bala, Amar Bhoopali and Ram Shastri. Kindly contact

Uday Haridas


Fabmart Music

Read more letters

E-mail the editor

Music alert!

Want updates on The Music Magazine's latest stories? Send us your e-mail ID, details of genres you are interested in, and any other information you think is relevant. We plan to alert you to new stuff on your favourite magazine

Top  | Home

Press Ctrl D to bookmark The Music Magazine

Media praise for your favourite e-zine from India:

*For fans of Indian music, there is no better resource on the Web -- CNet
*Well researched -- India Today
*Fantastic site -- Hitbox
*Web's best -- Britannica
*Superb coverage... worth tuning in to -- Rediff
*Classy -- Deccan Herald